Criminal defense in Austin Texas.

Foolish Laws, and Lawmakers

Posted By on October 9, 2009

The Texas legislature has a bad habit of creating a crime whenever it sees a problem out in the world somewhere.  Perhaps especially when the problem affects a special interest or a lobby.

For example, did you know it’s a felony to bad-mouth a bank?  (Texas Finance Code – Section 59.002.)

Or that it’s a third-degree felony to do business in a grain warehouse without a license?   (Texas Agriculture Code – Section 14.072.)

Or how about “Thrashing Pecans“, the crime of causing pecans to fall from a pecan tree “by any means, including by thrashing,” without the written consent the owner, the mayor, or a judge?

According to Grits, there are (or were – in 2007) 2324 separate felony offenses in Texas, including 11 that involve oysters.  And the number keeps on growing.

I’ve already posted about Improper Photography – a law that criminalizes transmitting pictures with a lascivious intent – and about Penal Code 28.08 Graffiti – which makes it a crime to “make markings” on school property.

The thing about drafting laws to create new crimes, or harsher punishments, is that it allows politicians to “send a message” without costing them anything.  Unlike hiring new officers, or judges, or social workers or teachers, drafting legislation is practically free.

Of course, there is a cost, it’s just not obvious, or immediate.


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